The Seven Ages, Fifth Age: The Justice (Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Smirke's image responds to a poetic description of life's stages in As You Like It and represents a mature justice. the image was conceived for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, launched in 1786 as a publishing-cum-exhibition scheme that included a new illustrated edition of the plays, sets of large and small engravings, and a gallery on London's Pall Mall. The latter opened in 1789 with thirty-four paintings and contained about one hundred and seventy works the time Boydell went bankrupt and auctioned the contents in 1805–his print sales plummeted when Napoleon blocaded European ports. This impression belongs to an American reissue of 1852 spearheaded by Shearjashub Spooner, a New York dental surgeon and art scholar who acquired Boydell's heavily worn plates and had them reworked. Printed on thick cream colored paper, the New York edition added small numbers in the lower left margin, this being number 43.

The Seven Ages, Fifth Age: The Justice (Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7), Peter Simon (British, London ca. 1764–1813 Paris), Stipple engraving

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.